If you love the great outdoors, then you likely want to pass along that passion for nature to your little ones. While we tend to have great childhood memories of gathering firewood and chasing squirrels, it’s no secret that our parents may have completely different recollections of those family camping trips! The truth is, they're not always fun for everyone. But they can be.
In order to make your first (or even your tenth) family camping trip go as smoothly as possible, try these tips. Preparation makes for happy kids and happy parents--especially when it comes to an excursion like camping.
If you're tent camping for the first time with your kids, make sure you're prepared for the worst-possible scenario. When you're sleeping in the elements, a little thing like rain can turn uncomfortable, quickly.
Be prepared for all types of weather, regardless of the forecast. Bring layers of dry clothing, swimsuits, and a warm synthetic coat, even if you are heading to warm conditions. In case of wet weather, bring a waterproof tarp to shelter your family from the rain. You should also have a plan for really bad weather, like thunderstorms. Is there backup shelter nearby, or can you spend the night in the car if necessary?
It's important to have options for activities as well. The trouble with family travel is often that everyone wants to do something different. Luckily, being at a campsite gives you some freedom to explore your own interests. Ask the kids what they want to do on the trip, and give everyone a designated time to explore their choice. Downtime at the campsite is a great opportunity for family members to do their own thing, while spending time together. One person can work on a puzzle, while someone else builds a campfire, or hunts for berries nearby.
The options are endless when you're camping, and everyone should be able to find something they enjoy.
Camping is great for kids, because it feeds their curiosity. Being outside is one big adventure, but those adventures can easily lead to bumps and bruises, and sometimes worse. Hiking, rafting, or even playing some frisbee at the campground could lead to an injury, so it's important to pack a well-stocked first-aid kid.
We don’t like to think about more harrowing scenarios, but it's also a good idea to locate local hospitals, and speak with your friendly park ranger before you go on day-long excursions.
So we just told you to come prepared with all types of clothing, but on the flip side, it's also important to not overpack. Be prepared, but also selective.
Kids these days are rather attached to their electronic toys, but remember that you're going camping to enjoy nature. Do you really need an iPad or a laptop?
Kids and adults alike might struggle with the idea of abandoning their screens. But once you discover how much fun can be had without them, you'll be glad you left them behind.
Congratulations for upholding the great tradition of family camping. It may seem a bit overwhelming now, but just know that you are giving them memories and traditions they can pass down to their own kids someday.
And, as always, if you need to take a load off after your camping trip with the family, we’ll be here to help you recover in style.